Back to FAQ

What is an Escalation Process?

In a contact center, an escalation process occurs when a front-line agent refers a customer to a supervisor with more authority or another agent with more experience and knowledge. Escalation may occur when the initial agent lacks the authorization or knowledge to resolve the call effectively, or when the customer requests access to a higher level of authority.

What are the benefits of escalation?

The escalation process may help satisfy customers’ needs more quickly or effectively. For example, when a customer calls technical support with a highly unusual problem that the initial agent has never encountered, it may be wise to quickly escalate the call to an agent with more experience. Escalation can also help avoid incidents where the initial agent provides the customer with an incorrect solution.

What are the drawbacks of escalation?

The escalation process is often frustrating for customers, who must invest more time trying to resolve their issues. This is especially true when the customer must repeat certain details or critical information with each escalation. When this happens, escalation may result in a negative perception of the company, even though the escalation was necessary to resolve the customer’s issue. The escalation process negatively affects important key performance indicators (KPIs) such as first call resolution (FCR) and average handle time (AHT).

What are the challenges of an escalation process?

Knowing when to escalate a customer conversation is one of the biggest challenges of the escalation process. Failing to escalate at the right time or escalating unnecessarily will have a negative impact on the customer’s contact center experience. Escalating customers too frequently also reduces the amount of time that supervisors can focus on other parts of their job.

What does a high escalation rate mean?

When contact centers have high escalation rates, it’s a sign that agents may not have received adequate training and knowledge to handle complaints or are not empowered to solve customer issues.

How can escalation be prevented?

  • Training. The more knowledge and training agents receive, the less likely they’ll need to escalate certain calls.
  • Empathy. Empathizing with a customer’s frustrations and complaints can help to de-escalate a conversation and minimize the likelihood that the customer will request an escalation.
  • Transparency. Agents can de-escalate conversations by being open with customers about the status of their issue and the steps being taken to resolve it.
  • Efficiency. An efficient and successful contact center with higher first call resolution rates will inevitably have fewer escalation attempts.
  • Documentation. A well-documented escalation process will provide agents with clear guidelines about when and where to escalate the conversation.

What is real-time monitoring in the escalation process?

Real-time monitoring is a feature of conversation intelligence platforms that use natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to capture and analyze conversations between agents and customers on every channel. Conversation intelligence technology can identify the meaning of a customer’s words as well as the sentiment and emotion behind them. By capturing and analyzing interactions as they happen, conversation intelligence platforms enable real-time monitoring of customer conversations to better understand a customer’s mindset and needs, guide agents in their responses, and alert supervisors to conversations that need escalation or intervention.

What are the benefits of real-time monitoring for the escalation process?

  • Real-time monitoring can help supervisors identify when customers are at risk of churn or when conversations are heading in a negative direction. This allows them to intervene appropriately and resolve the customer’s need more quickly and effectively.
  • Real-time monitoring can also identify when agents violate compliance requirements. Agents typically must adhere to compliance requirements in every call to prevent litigation and to provide a consistent customer experience. Real-time monitoring solutions can provide supervisors with immediate alerts when an agent is not in compliance.
  • Superior real-time monitoring solutions can also provide next-best-action suggestions for agents to improve the outcomes of conversations.
  • This technology can also monitor the effectiveness of each agent and of different approaches to resolving customer issues. When combined with post-conversation analytics, real-time monitoring can help call center managers to understand what training and support each agent needs to improve their performance.

How does CallMiner improve the escalation process?

CallMiner Eureka is the industry’s most comprehensive conversation intelligence platform for capturing and monitoring 100% of customer interactions at scale. CallMiner can capture and analyze customer conversations on phone calls, email, chat, social media, websites, mobile apps, and other channels. The platform can issue alerts to agents or supervisors as conversations take place and suggest responses and actions based on interaction indicators and customer behavior. CallMiner Eureka supports more than 100,000 simultaneous multichannel interactions while delivering dynamic insights that help reduce escalation, resolve compliance risks, and recover from negative customer interactions in real time.